Ed Brubaker and Steve McNiven deliver another solid read with Captain America #3. The central action of the comic is Captain America fighting the “Ameridroid,” a twenty-foot tall robotic version of Captain America with the mind of an insane former Nazi scientist. Like many comic book villains created in the 70’s, the Ameridroid certainly has the capacity to be more campy than compelling, but Brubaker manages to avoid that as he puts a surprisingly human face to a giant Nazi robot.
What I like about Brubaker’s take on Captain America is that while it is definitely a superhero comic, it delves beneath the surface to offer well-rounded characters and well-crafted plots that deliver more than the basic hero-versus-villain tropes. Even as Captain America battles the Ameridroid, he recognizes the human being who its mind used to belong to and can see the tragedy of someone driven to that level of insanity. When Nick Fury asks Steve if he actually has sympathy for the Ameridroid, he replies, “It’s hard not to, Nick. Somewhere inside all those circuts…there used to be a man.” Steve’s compassion and ability to empathize are part of what makes him the hero he is, and Brubaker highlights that perfectly in his conflict with the Ameridroid.
While Captain America fights his giant robotic doppelganger, his girlfriend, Sharon Carter, finds herself in a fight of her own with Baron Zemo. Brubaker does a good job of making Sharon a competent character in her own right, and while she’s in danger, she’s far from a damsel in distress. She holds her own against Zemo, saying to him “I spar with Captain America and Valkyrie…you don’t scare me.” The dynamic set up between Sharon and Cap during the battle scene is refreshing in the superhero genre, with them assisting each other instead of having her rely completely on Steve for her safety.
Captain America is able to stop the Ameridroid, but not for long as it wakes up and comes after Steve again. Together, they travel to a dream world controlled by the former Allied operative known as Bravo. The comic ends with Captain America seemingly defeated by Bravo, the world he’s now trapped in not one that operates like the world where he’s the hero. Brubaker has done a stellar job in the first three issues at bringing Steve Rogers back as Captain America, and after this issue, I anxiously await to see where it will go from here.
Sara started reading comics in the third grade, and now puts her English degree to good use talking about them on the Internet. She currently resides in Western Massachusetts with a roommate, three cats, and an action figure collection and spends the time she isn’t reading comics working for a non-profit. You can visit her blog at Ms. Snarky’s Awesometastic Comics Blog.